Multiple Takes

Ancient history photographed by me in 1993. Just before this once mainstay of Edmonton & surrounding area cinema was torn down.

So I am into watching movies a little less than listening to music even though I watched and or owned movies well before music. The first movie I saw in the theatre was a double bill of Return of The Pink Panther & Star Wars: A New Hope in 1978. Return of The Pink Panther did absolutely nothing for me, but Star Wars was another story. I loved it.

Soon after Star Wars my parents, other parents or babysitters would take us out to the occasional movie like the Star Wars trilogy, Ghostbusters, Raiders of The Lost Ark, The Muppet Movie(s), Superman (1978), King Kong (1979) and among those, EVERY damn John Hughes film. Before my parents owned a VCR they would rent a Laser Disc player or a VCR and we’d watch War of The Worlds (1953), Superman 2 (1980), Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom and EVERY damn John Hughes film. My parents (bless their hearts) would have a movie playing for myself and my 2 younger sisters monthly (it seemed more often than that but my memory is really foggy) with, you guessed it, EVERY damn John Hughes movie. Which is where I started to dislike my family’s taste in films.

I never liked any John Hughes, John Wayne or Clint Eastwood films. The same with Ghostbusters, Back To The Future, Beverly Hills Cop or Karate Kid (1984). I liked some the actors in those films and a few lines but overall these seemed like cookie cutter films to me. During grade school a friend and I would rent films too. Aliens, Scanners & Videodrome we loved but Predator and Scarface we laughed our asses off at how terrible it was. Around the age of 14 I realized that I rarely liked Hollywood films so I ended up going to the local video store (by now my parents owned a VCR) and I rented mainly horror films. I really gravitated to horror films and ended up watching horror almost exclusively. Occasionally I’d go see movies on my own (Tim Burton’s Batman & Beetlejuice) but yet again I was by and large disappointed. 

Then 1990 happened when I met my first girlfriend. She didn’t like horror films (perish the thought!!!) but knew I didn’t like Hollywood films so she suggested that we go out to The Princess Theatre in Old Strathcona and watch independent and foreign films as well as renting movies. This was the best thing that happened to me in my brief film watching life. She and I ended up going almost weekly to the Princess. Between going to The Princess Theatre and renting we saw many films there Betty Blue, Miller’s Crossing, Bad Lieutenant, Being At Home With Claude, The Adjuster, Exotica, La Femme Nikita, Night On Earth, Paris Texas, Short Cuts, The Vanishing (1988), Barton Fink, Cinema Paradiso, I Love A Man In Uniform and many, many more. Up to 1992 to 1995 set my opinion in stone and I rarely went to or watched Hollywood movies. When my first girlfriend and I went to a large commercial movie theatre she took me to Naked Lunch and Highway 61 and I took her to Apocalypse Now and Hearts of Darkness all in 1991. We also saw Glengary Glenross, Reservoir Dogs and more that my fading memory can’t recall. We would have a “bad” movie night every so often where we’d each rent a terrible film. Her’s was Roadkill and mine was Deathrace 2000 (1975) just for laughs.

I still went to films on my own like the Star Wars prequels, Fight Club, American Pie, Eyes Wide Shut and Bone Collector all of which I didn’t really care for. So I stayed away from Hollywood…again. With that in mind the few years her and I spent together had a long reach and I still gravitate to “artsy” movies. Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Bottle Rocket, Blood Simple, Blue Velvet, Mullholland Drive, Ghost World, The Apprenticship of Duddy Kravitz, American Splendor and more.

In 2011 I went to visit my current wife for the first time and I introduced her to my quirky movie taste and she introduced me to some Hollywood films. For the most part I liked her film suggestions but I ignored them at the time of release because of my track record with Hollywood (insert Public Enemy’s song “Burn Hollywood, Burn”). Her and her parents lived outside of Los Angeles and seemed to go to several movies. This makes sense when you grow up and live right beside the Hollywood movie industry centre of the world. My wife enjoyed some of my picks (some she didn’t) and her parents seemed to enjoy some of my picks too. For example, one of my favourite films from 1990 was Guildenstern & Rosenkrantz Are Dead and her Mom seemed to enjoy it whereas she didn’t seem to like Metropolis (1927). My mother and father-in-law and I watched Stanley Kubrick’s Noir film from 1956 The Killing and we all enjoyed that early Kubrick effort.

I still watch a great deal of movies and I’d like to think that my mind has opened a bit more with my wife and her parents in my life. In that I’ll give some Hollywood films a chance now whereas before I wouldn’t even watch a trailer. Logan, The Big Short, Resident Evil, Collateral, some smaller films The Last Night, some horror films The Fog (1980) The Thing (1982) and coming full circle, you guessed it EVERY damn John Hughes film. Just kidding. What I meant to say is, and coming full circle, Star Wars films. One thing is for certain, my taste in cinema is still quite picky, I might give a Hollywood film a chance, I will still watch horror, foreign, independent and Star Wars films and I still don’t like a single damn John Hughes’ films.